Drought-resistant plants

As climate change presents us with the challenge of gardening with less water, choosing plants to suit our growing conditions becomes paramount.

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Drought-resistant planting. Credit: RHS Advisory


With some conditioning of the soil and careful watering, there is a considerable range of plants that can tolerate dry conditions once they are established.

Practical considerations

  • Plant any silver leaved, less hardy, sun lovers in April so they establish their roots well before winter arrives
  • Try to plant small specimens so that they get used to their growing environment gradually as they develop
  • Adding organic matter to the soil before planting can help to improve both water availability and drainage, but do not add fertiliser, as this can encourage too much lush growth which may flop in summer, require extra watering, and be affected by frost in the winter
  • Use mulches to retain moisture in the soil

Suitable plants

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.